I believe in my core that repression cannot forge the social cohesion for nations to succeed. The history of the last two decades proves that in today’s world, dictatorships are unstable. The strongmen of today become the spark of revolution tomorrow.This got me wondering; are democracies really more stable than dictatorships? It is true that some of the oldest regimes in the world (the UK, the US) are democracies. But on the other hand it seems that in much of the world democracies are routinely overthrown, leading in some countries (Thailand, Pakistan) to a revolving door of elected and military regimes. So what is the actual story?
Here is some data, from a serious-looking academic paper:
Leaving aside the question of how one assigns regimes to one category or another, you can see that democracy is no guarantee of stability. The very long-lived democratic regimes of the U.K., the U.S., Canada, and Scandinavia raise the mean duration of democratic regimes in Europe, but even within the western world they are not the norm. In the rest of the world, there is little difference between the different types of regimes, and much instability no matter the system.
I wonder what these tables would look like if we added "monarchy + aristocracy" as a regime type and extended the time line back to the classical world?